Relief Nursery

Mental Health Substance Use Prevention or Treatment In-home Parent Skill-Based Does Not Currently Meet Criteria

Relief Nursery is designed for families with children ages 0–5 that may have risk factors for child abuse and neglect. The program aims to build successful and resilient children, strengthen parenting skills, and preserve families. Relief Nursery provides an array of customized direct services to families. Through its various services, Relief Nursery seeks to help families expand child development knowledge, increase parent-child attachment, broaden social supports, foster healthy coping strategies, and access basic needs and resources. Families select one or more of the following Relief Nursery services: outreach (home visiting and respite care), parenting education, mental health and counseling, substance use disorder recovery support, and therapeutic early childhood education. Relief Nursery staff members may be involved in more than one service and typically include home visitors, parenting educators, mental health professionals, child and family therapists, classroom teachers, early special education experts, and supervisors. 


The outreach service includes home visits and respite child care. Home visits may include parenting education and support, crisis support, community resource referrals, child development screenings, and basic needs assistance. Outreach is often the first connection that families make when they seek out support from Relief Nursery. Outreach home visits are typically focused on stabilizing the family during a crisis and providing initial resources, such as a community resource guide. Once the outreach team understands a family’s needs, Relief Nursery staff members provide customized short-term services to families. Respite child care gives parents time for self-care and to engage in activities that will increase family stability.  


The parenting education service offers individualized parenting support to families. Parenting educators offer parent education during home visits with individual families as well as in a group-based classroom setting. Parenting education classes include curricula from Make Parenting a Pleasure and Circle of Security. Topics include building a strong connection between parents and children, supporting children’s learning and development, preventing and responding to challenging behaviors, creating a safe environment by child-proofing homes, and engaging in positive routines. Relief Nursery provides transportation, childcare, and a meal during parenting education in classroom settings. 


The mental health and counseling services assist young children and their families in addressing behaviors that could result in more serious problems as children reach elementary school. Mental health professionals implement play therapy as their primary approach to helping children. Mental health and counseling services can additionally include mental health assessments, in-home therapeutic services, individualized treatment plans, and group therapy. Mental health professionals provide referrals to other mental health agencies in the community when a service is not available directly through Relief Nursery. 


The substance use disorder and recovery support service is an integrated recovery support program for families with substance use disorder. The program, called Accessing Success, is comprised of a peer support team of alcohol and drug counselors. Accessing Success providers offer drug and alcohol intake services, counseling, parenting education, childcare, transportation, and social skill activities. Accessing Success also offers crisis response, home visits, and a Parents for Recovery Support Group. 


The Therapeutic Early Childhood Education Program collaborates with parents of children ages 2–5 to support children’s learning. Therapeutic early childhood education focuses on integrated early intervention and supports students that need more individualized services. The program provides classroom instruction as well as home visits. Two teachers and at least one volunteer direct each therapeutic classroom. Classroom teachers in the Therapeutic Early Childhood Education program emphasize social emotional development, building resilience, sensory experiences, and routines. Classroom teachers provide home visits to support families with establishing social connections, understanding child development, increasing parental resilience, and accessing basic needs. Early special education specialists and child and family therapists are available to families. 

Relief Nursery does not currently meet criteria to receive a rating because no studies of the program achieved a rating of moderate or high on design and execution.

Date Research Evidence Last Reviewed: Mar 2024


The following sources informed the program or service description, target population, and program or service delivery and implementation information: the program or service manual, the program or service developer’s website, the California Evidence-Based Clearinghouse for Child Welfare, the Home Visiting Evidence of Effectiveness review, and the studies reviewed. 

This information does not necessarily represent the views of the program or service developers. For more information on how this program or service was reviewed, visit the Review Process page or download the Handbook.

Target Population

Relief Nursery is designed for families with children ages 0–5 that may have risk factors for child abuse and neglect.  


Relief Nursery service delivery depends on family need and interest. Staff members provide services either in-person in group settings or in the home. Families select one or more services in which to participate. Families are typically involved with Relief Nursery between one month and six years.  

The outreach team delivers services based on family need and program capacity. Parenting educators, teachers, or mental health professionals conduct at least one monthly home visit lasting 1–1.5 hours and provide at least one 3-hour respite care session monthly. 

Relief Nursery parent education staff members provide services to families during scheduled home visits and weekly group-based parenting classes. Parenting education duration is specific to each family. Families with infants and children ages 0–18 months participate in at least one weekly 3-hour classroom session and at least one weekly home visit lasting 1–1.5 hours. Families with toddlers ages 18–23 months participate in two to four weekly 3-hour classroom sessions and at least two monthly home visits lasting 1–1.5 hours. Families with children over 24 months participate in two to four 3-hour classroom sessions weekly and at least one monthly home visit lasting 1–1.5 hours. 

Location/Delivery Setting
Recommended Locations/Delivery Settings

Staff members typically deliver Relief Nursery in homes, community settings, and school settings. 

Education, Certifications and Training

Direct service and education staff members must have at least a bachelor’s degree in education, psychology, social work, family services, early childhood education, a related field with early childhood teaching experience, or the ability to obtain a degree in the field within two years from date of hire. In addition to the requirements for direct service staff, supervisors should also have over two years of experience in early childhood classrooms and over two years providing home visiting services to families at risk for child abuse and neglect experience with reflective supervision. All staff must have a current valid driver’s license with acceptable driving record, insurance coverage, and current Pediatric First Aid/CPR and Food Handler’s cards, or the ability to obtain them.  

Relief Nursery provides staff members ten 2-hour “Core Trainings” which must be completed within the first year. All staff members are required to complete 15–24 training hours per year, depending on staff position and nursery location. Five hours of the yearly trainings must be related to child development. Relief Nursery releases new trainings every year. Supervisors decide which trainings are required and which are optional. Relief Nursery offers trainings onsite, via Zoom, and through prerecorded webinars. 

Program or Service Documentation
Book/Manual/Available documentation used for review

The following three resources are used to implement Relief Nursery: 

Carpenter, J. (2022). Relief Nursery therapeutic classroom handbook. Relief Nursery. 

Carpenter, J. (2022). Relief Nursery family support and home visiting handbook. Relief Nursery. 

Carpenter, J. (2022). Relief Nursery training and professional development handbook. Relief Nursery. 

Available languages

Relief Nursery materials are available in English and Spanish. 

Other supporting materials

Relief Nursery Outreach (Home Visiting and Respite Care) 

Relief Nursery Parenting Education 

Relief Nursery Mental Health and Counseling 

Relief Nursery Substance Use Disorder Recovery Support 

Relief Nursery Therapeutic Early Childhood Education 

Relief Nursery Training Courses 

For More Information


Phone: (541) 343-9706 

Contact form: 

Note: The details on Dosage; Location; Education, Certifications, and Training; Other Supporting Materials; and For More Information sections above are provided to website users for informational purposes only. This information is not exhaustive and may be subject to change.

Results of Search and Review Number of Studies Identified and Reviewed for Relief Nursery
Identified in Search 7
Eligible for Review 1
Rated High 0
Rated Moderate 0
Rated Low 1
Reviewed Only for Risk of Harm 0
Sometimes study results are reported in more than one document, or a single document reports results from multiple studies. Studies are identified below by their Prevention Services Clearinghouse study identification numbers. To receive a rating of supported or well-supported, the favorable evidence for a program or service must have been obtained from research conducted in a usual care or practice setting.

Studies Rated Low

Study 15096

Eddy, J. M., Holmes, A., Shortt, J. W., Seeley, J., Martinez, C. R., Grossman, J., Wheeler, A., & Gau, J. (2014). A randomized controlled trial of the Relief Nursery Program. Rigorous evaluations of existing child abuse prevention programs (REECAPP) grant cluster. Final report. Children's Bureau, Administration for Children and Families, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

Eddy, J. M., Shortt, J. W., Martinez, C. R., Holmes, A., Wheeler, A., Gau, J., Seeley, J., & Grossman, J. (2020). Outcomes from a randomized controlled trial of the Relief Nursery program. Prevention Science, 21(1), 36-46.

This study received a low rating because the standards for addressing missing data were not met.

Studies Not Eligible for Review

Study 15097

NPC Research. (2009). Oregon Relief Nursery FY 2008 Key Findings.

Burrus, S. W. M. & Green, B. L. (2007). Evaluation of Oregon's Relief Nursery Program: 2005 – 2006. NPC Research.

Burrus, S. W. M., Green, B. L., Lambarth, C. H. (2009). Evaluation of Oregon's Relief Nursery program, July 1, 2007 – June 30, 2008: Final report. NPC Research.

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4)

Study 15098

Saifer, S. (2005). Oregon Relief Nurseries: Outcomes and status report for the 2003-2004 program year. Northwest Regional Educational Laboratory.

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4)

Study 15099

Gandhi, E. V., Nagel, A., & Speth, T. (2017). Evaluation of Relief Nurseries in Oregon: Commissioned by the Oregon Association of Relief Nurseries: July 1, 2014-June 30, 2016. Education Northwest.

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4)

Study 15100

Green, B. L., & Rodgers, A. (2011). Evaluation of the Oregon Relief Nurseries: July 1, 2008 – June 30, 2010. Portland State University. Center for Improvement of Child and Family Services.

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4)

Study 15101

Bartlett, J. D., Smith, S., & Bringewatt, E. (2017). Helping young children who have experienced trauma: Policies and strategies for early care and education. Child Trends.

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4)

Study 15102

Korfmacher, J. (2020). Balancing rigor with complexity in understanding the impacts of child maltreatment prevention programs. Prevention Science, 21(1), 47-52.

This study is ineligible for review because it does not use an eligible study design (Study Eligibility Criterion 4.1.4)